New heights for Stingray Swim Club training

Stingray Swim Club has gone to new heights this summer as it provided new training opportunities for more than a dozen of its senior athletes, who spent two weeks training in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado.

The transition from short course to long course training can be a challenge. Now add in the transition from training at sea level to training at 4,664 feet and you will be coming close to the incredible experience that 14 of Stingray Swim Club’s senior swimmers.

The swimmers took part in the University of Northern Colorado’s summer camp, run by the Swimming and Diving programmes Head Coach, Lisa Ebeling and Associate Swimming and Diving Head Coach. Will Leonhart. Stingray’s Head Coach, David Pursely accompanied the swimmers, and was also on hand to work with them throughout the two weeks.

“Training at altitude is painful and tough, but the benefits are many and are proven. That is why so many athletes of all sports regularly train at elevation,” said Pursely. “This experience for our swimmers has been incredible in so many ways. They have experienced high altitude training, focused on their mental development as an athlete and have gained depth in understanding of so many key areas of their holistic development as a student, an athlete and a person.”


Ebeling said it was an honour for the University of Northern Colorado to host the Stingray swimmers.

“Our coaches are incredibly impressed with the work ethic, dedication and commitment this group of athletes shows each day. It’s been especially fun for me to see my talented brother build this program into something so special and to watch the passion he has for helping each of these swimmers develop and become the best they can be in and out of the water. This has been a great experience for all involved and we are thankful to have played a small role in the development of this great team,” she added.

The daily itinerary was full. There was dry land conditioning and lifting, in a Division 1 weight facility and pool training every day, usually twice a day. A full schedule of team activities including: educational talks on nutrition, body language and team atmosphere, preparing for college, work ethic and sportsmanship; and motivational talks by Olympians Anton McKee, Lacy Nymeyer and BJ Bedford (who has visited Cayman and taken part in the Flowers Sea Swim) on their personal Olympic journeys.

McKee, an Icelandic swimmer competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics, finishing 31st in the 400m Individual Medley; and Nymeyer was a member of the 4 x 100m US Freestyle relay team that won Silver at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. BJ was a member of the US team that won Gold and set a new world record in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

But it wasn’t all hard work. Woven in to the 13 days they were on the ground were incredible experiences and activities.

The swimmers lived on campus in the University of Northern Colorado’s dorms; ate healthy meals in the dining halls and did their own laundry – all great preparation for their future college experiences.


They also competed in a meet a mile above sea level, at a world class facility in Denver; and took part in the July 4th celebrations which included a parade, fair and Demolition Derby. They visited, and hiked at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, went white water rafting; hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, where they put in some open water swimming, and then, just for fun – paintball and a little shopping.

“It was great working with such dedicated swimmers,” said Leonhart. “Getting to know the difference in background and culture for both the swimmers and myself was a memorable experience for all. I wish them the best of luck with the remainder of their season and am confident their time here will pay off in the future.”

Next up – two weeks training back home at the Lions Pool and then they head, along with the rest of their Cayman team mates (swimmers from all Cayman clubs) to compete in the TYR Summer Champs (ISCA) in St. Petersburg, Florida from 30 July to 5 August. Other Cayman swimming action will also see swimmers from all Cayman’s clubs heading to the Tar Heel States in North Carolina from 16-30 July.

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